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  • Author or Editor: Julij S. Khudjakov x
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The study of the armaments of the Gorny Altaic nomadic tribes that formed parts of the Xiongnu, Xianbei and Ruanruan empires is of great importance for the military history of the Central Asian nomads. In the 1st-3rd centuries AD the nomads of the Bulan-Koba culture were armed with compound bows with bone brackets, arrows with iron three-bladed arrowheads and plugs, and handles or divided handles. In close combat they used swords, broadswords, and daggers. For self-protection, Bulan-Koba warriors used breastplates made of iron. Gorny Altaic nomad weapons were greatly influenced by the armaments of the Xiongnu and the Sarmatians. There were two nomadic groups in Gorny Altai in the 3rd-5th centuries AD: the Kok-Pash culture and the Ayrydash type. Kok-Pash armaments included bows with bone brackets and three-bladed, three-sided and rhombic arrowheads. Kok-Pash warriors had broadswords and daggers in their military equipment. They were protected by breastplates and special belts made of iron plates. The Kok-Pash culture has definite similarities with the Ulug-Khem and Kokeli cultures in Tuva. We can trace the influences of Xianbei culture in the armament material and equipment of these cultures. Ayrydash tombs contain bone bow brackets, iron three-bladed, rhombic and lenticular arrowheads, bone arrowheads with plugs and whistles, as well as arrowheads with rhombic shaped handles and divided handles. Armaments of the Ayrydash tombs can be dated from the time of Ruanruan supremacy in Central Asia. The nomads of Sayan-Altai during the first half of the 1st millenium AD were lightly-armed archers. They were not as well equipped as the Xiongnu, Xianbei and Ruanruan in terms of close combat equipment and defensive weapons and armour.

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